Not Just Hot: Why Health Matters to Me

The Don’t Panic Mom Facebook page climbed over 100 likes this week. So as promised, I have some fun “before and after” photos for you.

“Before and After” images are really motivating for me. My soul soars when I think about the individual’s hard work and their new lease on life. Now it is my turn to be the one in the photo. I laugh hysterically that it took an advanced degree in public health to help me.


My Body Mass Index, or BMI, was in the overweight category the first time I calculated it in 2005. It didn’t bother me much. I felt happy, confident, and I didn’t think twice when I put on a bathing suit. I placed the blame on my genetics and was extremely comfortable being pleasantly plump. However, I finally realized there wasn’t anything pleasant about the long-term complications of being overweight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, being overweight or obese can lead to these serious complications:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Stroke
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease
  • Gallstones
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

(Centers for Disease Control, 2011)

Losing weight isn’t just about being hot. It is about health. Sometimes people make fun of my excitement for healthy living. What they don’t know is that my immediate and extended family suffers from several of these complications. Type 2 diabetes is not a joke. I can’t control my genetics, but I can control what I eat and how much I move.

What have I changed since 2005? A lot.

  • I stopped drinking soda.
  • I learned to love drinking water.
  • I learned to cook.
  • I read ingredient labels.
  • I read nutrition facts.
  • I buy ingredients instead of boxed mixes or meals.
  • I include my children in shopping for ingredients and food prep- even as toddlers.
  • I swapped most refined grains for whole grains.
  • I reduced the amount of meat in my diet, especially red meat.
  • I learned to love plant-based protein, like soybeans.
  • I changed my food environment at home so fruit, veggies, and nuts are the most convenient things to eat when I’m snack-ish.
  • Our family outings are based on physical activity instead of getting treats.
  • I reward my children with non-food items like a dance party or time at a park.
  • I weigh myself almost every day.
  • I learned to like treadmills, elliptical machines, bicycling, yoga, spinning, etc.

What I am doing isn’t new in the health and fitness world. I’m just a regular girl who learned how to turn research into reality. And I’m loving it.

Do you want to see more photos of my family wearing pots and pans? Stay tuned to see pics from the funniest vegetable-themed photo shoot known to mankind.

Do you want to calculate your BMI? Try LiveWell Colorado’s 3600 Gut Check.

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca says:

    Great blog Alli! I love the before and after pictures.

    I’m always looking for ways to help my family eat better, so I’ll be following your blog 🙂

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